“Inspire the world to love learning” is how Khan Academy Kyrgyz describes its brand. “Drive digital transformation in education sector” I would also add as the brand trained 120 teachers for only $15 using ICT technologies. Contributing to this project as a software developer, I understood the power of technology in addressing challenges in emerging education system of Kyrgyzstan. To be able to have a wider enduring contribution, I need to broaden my knowledge on understanding the economics, politics and innovation that stand behind the policymaking.
Thus, I plan to pursue MPhil in Technology policy to understand technology from social sciences and humanities perspectives. This, in turn, fulfills my goal of generating grounded research that will serve to benefit decision-making of policymakers in technology policy, particularly in education sector in Kyrgyzstan.
Driven by the passion to provide an access to a free quality education to students from marginalized communities like myself, I joined Khan Academy Kyrgyz (KAK), a non-profit educational organization, as a technology manager. As a technology manager, I learnt to target the audience more effectively on our website and suggested ways of exploiting ICT for a bigger reach with lower expenses.
I later pursued a bigger responsibility as a strategy manager. Initially responsible for maintenance of the website and social media, I then assisted the development and execution of the goals in each department. To better my leadership skills on such projects, I find the Technology Policy: Concepts and Frameworks course as an ample opportunity to immerse in topics related to leadership in technology strategy through discussions on real life case studies.
It was through that role I realized my true passion lays in seeking ways of technology use to come up with an inclusive and optimal ideas in education delivery. For example, when fundraising team was in search for income streams, I suggested them to apply to the “support reforms in education sector” organized by Ministry of Education that reserved $0.87 million in 2019. After a thorough research, we made a model that illustrated a cost and quality implications of training for teachers that were held in traditional format and delivered outdated information.
As a result, a vice-minister of Education Ministry approved our proposal and let us teach 120 English teachers online for a total of $14.5 operational cost. However, through this project I realized I lacked knowledge in developing report on long-term investment outcomes onto such projects. I believe the Economic Foundation of Technology Policy course will provide a solid foundation about the principles behind investment in technology infrastructure.
My previous experience as the head of the tutoring college club has also risen my interest in learning the interaction between Business, Government and Technology. I learnt the importance of engaging government and business stakeholders in expanding the services of the tutoring club in achieving specific goals. For example, we had attracted sponsorship to equip 2 schools with internet access and had government officials to arrange us permissions to deliver our services.
This collaboration between businessmen, government officials and us have expanded the reach of beneficiaries from 34 to 281 within months. To implement this project, the Value Proposition course that I studied at Business & Entrepreneurship program at [redacted] in 2019 came in handy as it equipped me with knowledge to design a course based on the analysis of beneficiaries’ interest and market requirements. Additionally, negotiating and pitching skills gained at the program provided me a competence in discussing with government officials and businessmen.
This experience showed me the potential of engaging government, business and technology and motivated me to study more on how developed states managed to use these forces in addressing challenges in education sector. I would like to grasp ideas and expertise on integrating technology in education sector in European countries not only through classroom instruction, but most importantly, though case studies and simulations in Technology Policy core course.
In terms of the academics, I gradually learnt to properly manage studies, extracurricular and employment. Unfortunately, during first two years at the college, I spent disproportionate amounts of time on the latter two at the expense of the other. Later, I learnt to balance study schedule and improved my grades to 3.8. The University of Central Asia is, at times, a stressful academic environment and I leant to handle it successfully, without displaying concerning behaviors. I have shown myself to be adaptable and flexible when facing challenges and always seek appropriate advice and guidance when it is required. This ability to adapt to adversity would be of great use in the MPhil in Technology Policy program.
Upon completion master’s degree, I plan to join the Institute of Public Policy and Administration as a research fellow. As a researcher, I aim to conduct research on technology implementation in education sector which appreciates both financial and technological concerns. This experience will provide me with requisite skills to fulfill my long-term goal of pursuing a career as a policymaker in government position. I am confident I will enjoy synthesizing raw data to produce a well-rounded research papers for influencing policy-making processes.